News in Numbers, Feb 09, 2017: Indian Unicorns: Softbank sends a message

$475 million

What is it? The amount written off by Softbank in value of its shareholding in Snapdeal and Ola, two Indian unicorns in e-commerce and cab hailing industries respectively.

Why is it important? It’s a sign that investors are adjusting their expectations from home grown tech startups, given the competition from global players such as Amazon and Uber. Besides, as the customer acquisition costs continue to go up, startups and investors are rethinking about the size of addressable market for business models that are imported from abroad.

Tell me more: Softbank, especially under former Softbank president Nikesh Arora, was one of the most active players in Indian startup space a few years ago, and led an investment of $210 million in Ola and $627 million in Snapdeal in 2014.



What is it? The repo rate, or the key policy rate for banks, which the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) held for the second time in a row in its bi-monthly policy reviews.

Why is it important? Amidst popular expectation of a rate cut now that banks are flush with liquidity following nationwide deposits, the RBI left it untouched. It indicates the central bank wants to take its time to assess the impact of demonetisation on macroeconomics. Be it inflation or wages, it is now being said RBI will take a call after April.

Tell me more: RBI reiterated its commitment to bring down headline inflation to 4%, and noted Q4 FY17 it will remain below 5%. It alsorevised its GDP growth forecast from 7.1% to 6.9% in FY17.



What is it? The cases of rape registered with the Delhi police in January, 2017.

Why is it important? Crime against women continue unabated in the capital, despite concrete measures by the Delhi police, including sensitising the force, help desks at police stations and increased patrolling. While 14% of rape complaints remained unsolved in 2016, it was 30% in January.

Tell me more: There were 238 cases of molestation and 51 eve-teasing cases registered in January.



What is it? The proposed annual number legal immigrants allowed into the US, cutting the present quota by half in the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment Act (RAISE Act).

Why is it important? The latest proposal adds another angle to the immigration debate taking the US by storm after Donald Trump’s election. It seeks to limit entry of foreigners without a skills-based visa by cutting the number of green card or legal permanent residency issued annually.

Tell me more: The bill also seeks to cap the refugee programme to 50,000 a year, coming in the wake of a year (fiscal ended September, 2016) that allowed 84,995 refugees in, the highest under the Obama administration.


$ 1 trillion

What is it? Reduction in China’s foreign exchange reserves in the last three years.

Why is it important? At $2.998 trillion, the reserves are the lowest in nearly six years. While nearly $3 trillion is not small by any measure, it comes when China’s economic growth is moderating. Some analysts believe that it could lead China to devalue its currency, if the trend persists.

Tell me more: Chinese government is concerned about the outflow of capital and has tightened rules on forex purchases and cross-border renminbi remittance in the recent past.

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News in numbers, Nov 2, 2015: Indian promoters’ holding in firms, TN’s toor dal subsidy…


What is it? Promoters’ holding in private BSE-500 companies at the end of September 2015.

Why is it important? This is the lowest in about eight years. It could be a combination of the following factors: promoters are less confident about their companies than foreign and institutional investors or it could be an indicator of stressed corporate finances where they have had to dilute their stake in order to raise funds in a difficult economy.

Tell me more: There has been a consistent decline in promoters’ holding (that is, government holding) in public sector companies over the years as the government tries to mop up funds through disinvestment to achieve its fiscal deficit targets. At the end of September 2015, government holding in state-run companies stood at 67.1% from 75% in 2005.


Over 24%

What is it? Average annual returns generated by nine private equity (PE) funds, which have sold their investments partially through initial public offerings (IPOs).

Why is it important? The average annual returns of these PE funds – based on the price at which PE funds invested in companies and the price at which shares were sold –  are the highest since 2007. PE funds have had little or no opportunities to exit their investments in the last few years due to an economic slowdown and weak market sentiments. The increase in the number of IPOs point to an improvement in market sentiments where companies are making way for PEs to exit and raise capital.

Tell me more:  The average gross returns to PE investors in India were 21% until 2007, according to a McKinsey & Co. report. The average returns from PE exits declined to 7% after the 2008 global financial crisis



What is it? Number of Kashmiri Pandit families that have returned to the Kashmir Valley in 25 years.

Why is it important? Shows the rehabilitation package announced seven years ago is not working. Estimates suggest about 4.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee the Valley after being threatened by radical Islamic forces to either leave the region or convert to Islam or get killed. The Indian government had announced a Rs 1,600-crore rehabilitation for the Pandits in 2008.

Tell me more: The Supreme Court pulled up the Jammu & Kashmir government for the slow pace of the implementation of the rehabilitation package, which said they have received 6,510 applications from the Pandits to return to the Valley.



What is it? Percentage of people convicted in cases of atrocities against women in Delhi in 2014, based on the  numbers provided by Delhi Commission for Women chief, Swati Maliwal. 11,000 cases were registered, 3500 chargesheets were filed and 9 were convicted.

Why is it important?  The number of cases filed is a 15 year high, but women activists say the conviction rates are too low. After the December gangrape incident in the capital city, there is increased awareness about crimes against women and the police say they follow “a zero tolerance policy in filing cases”.

Tell me more: There have been 1,750 cases of rape and 4,406 cases of molestation reported in Delhi up to October 15 this year, the highest in 15 years in the same period.


450 tonnes

What is it? Quantity of toor dal to be sold at subsidised rates by the Tamil Nadu government at its cooperative stores over the next 30 days.

Why is it important? It is likely to force other state governments to follow suit. However, its impact on people’s wallet remains to be seen. It comes to 6 grams per person per month (450 tonnes/ population of Tamil Nadu).

Tell me more: The sale, which started on Sunday, aims to provide relief to consumers by selling toor dal at Rs 110 when prices of the lentil have been increasing rapidly in the last few months. Toor dal was retailing at Rs 175-180 during the third week of August. Nearly five lakh people queued up at the cooperative stores in Chennai, Trichy, Madurai and Coimbatore to buy toor dal at subsidised rates.  

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